A Fresh Perspective: Missionaries who return to the field
Posted on: 27th March 2017
After years of previous service with CMS in East Africa and Kenya, Norm and Janelle Gorrie, and Judith Calf are returning to Africa – to reconnect with people they love, renew partnerships in the gospel, and continue the work of teaching and growing disciples.
Norm & Janelle’s story:
We served in North Kenya from 1989 to 1998. As Director of Training, Norm worked with local church leaders to train evangelists and coordinate outreach, especially in schools and unreached communities. Janelle formed relationships in the local community, while looking after our three children.
I served in Tanzania from 1999 to 2008, initially in the Diocese of Kagera, and then as CMS’s first missionary in the Diocese of Tanga. It was an incredible privilege to teach evangelists, pastors and their wives the foundations of God’s word, to be equipped for Christian ministry.
Why have you gone back and what do you hope to achieve?
Norm & Janelle: We have never lost our God-given love for brothers and sisters in the Marsabit Diocese, and we long for others there to come to know Jesus. Bishop Daniel Qampicha has asked Norm to head the Department of Mission and Janelle to serve in pastoral care and literacy in the local language, Boran. We will humbly work with local clergy, evangelists, youth and lay leaders to counter the problems facing the Church, including tribalism, the growth of aggressive militant Islam and false, man-centred gospel teaching. We hope to continue to build a disciple-making culture, to generate disciples and churches who correctly handle and model the word of truth.
Judith: The task is not done! The rapid growth in the Tanzanian Church needs well-equipped leaders, able to rightly handle God’s word and navigate the rapid change in church and society that challenges Christian mission in Tanzania. Going back is about being a good steward – of years already invested in language and culture. It is also about honouring relationships with Tanzanian colleagues and friends, building on partnerships in the gospel, and serving God’s people in response to the need to equip leaders as faithful gospel servants.
What lessons did you learn from previous work in Africa?
Norm & Janelle: We went seeking to be servants to our African friends. That meant putting ourselves aside, and walking with them in life and ministry. This path was not always obvious and it was sometimes difficult to trust in Jesus when life was difficult. We need prayer from our partners in Australia to persevere.
Judith: Missionary service taught me lessons in humility, complete dependence upon God, and the incredible privilege of being invited to share in gospel partnerships. A decade of serving in Africa enriched my understanding of mission, as ordinary people are enabled to serve by our extraordinary God. Reading, and then teaching, God’s word through the lens of my Tanzanian students’ lives and ministry also enriched me in ways I still carry in my own walk with Jesus today.
How will your approach to mission in Africa be different this time around?
Norm & Janelle: We want to take things slower – listening, learning and trusting God to do the work. We get a lot of encouragement from the spiritual hunger of the disenfranchised. When they know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they are valuable stones in the building of God’s Church.
Judith: My prayer is that I will be much more dedicated to relationships before tasks! I will listen more, and work harder at sharing my life with my Tanzanian brothers and sisters. True gospel partnership, as a co-worker with my Tanzanian colleagues, will come from genuine humility, compassion and servant-heartedness. I hope to learn as much as I will teach.
Join with Norm, Janelle and Judith in God’s mission to support the Church in Africa. Show them your support by sending an encouraging email, and by remembering to keep them in your prayers.